(Introducing myself informally. For a more formal biography, see the ABOUT page).
Thank you so much for visiting this website.
Here's a personal note, a sort of "who I am and how I ended up where, in various senses, I find myself" piece.
I was born in England, and I was lucky to grow up with nursery rhymes, songs, and books. Reading was my great pleasure. A Wrinkle in Time, The Little Prince, the Narnia books, the stories of E. Nesbit, The Eagle of the Ninth and all Rosemary Sutcliff's books, A Dog so Small and others by Philippa Pearce, the work of Leon Garfield, Alan Garner….others who once were bookish children will have many of the same favourites.
As a child I wrote poems. In my teens I joined a young people's arts centre, a formative experience where the love of language was encouraged and nurtured, and we could read and discuss poetry. I will always be grateful to the centre's director, the late Elizabeth Webster.
Going to university, living in Italy, teaching English, getting married, starting a family, moving to America, teaching English some more….in the business of life, writing sank away into the background. I rediscovered it in my early thirties. At home full-time, with two, and then three, children, I began snatching moments to write: essays first, and then I returned to poetry.
It wasn't only because of the demands of living that I had let writing slip away. It was also because I knew I could never hope to emulate the writers I admired. But now I came to recognise the truth of what Jean Rhys said to David Plante, as he records in Difficult Women, though I think I first saw it quoted by Madeleine L'Engle in Walking on Water:
"All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. And there are trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."
Since then, I have published poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction. And I've written journalism about the arts, and about local history. I also enjoy teaching and have led writing workshops in schools, community colleges, and at writing conferences.
I enjoy giving talks, too. In the States I gave talks about local history and about creative writing. On one challenging occasion, I was asked to talk about poetry to a group of business people during a networking breakfast at 7:30 in the morning. It seems that they liked it. I have a talk about the research for and creation of my novel, about the nineteenth-century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, and other subjects.
My novel Inscription was published in 2015 by Sowilo Press. My poetry collection Sudden Arabesque appeared from Oversteps Books in 2017.
I've also co-written, with Harriet Dronska-Feitelberg, the memoir of her experience as a hidden child in World War II. My Father's Promise: a hidden child survives the Holocaust is an extraordinary story. Almost all the Jews of her city were killed. Thanks to her father, to a Catholic neighbour, to her own chutzpah, and to luck or providence, she survived this traumatic time disguised as a Catholic child, living under an assumed name. Exposure meant death. Today she is in her eighties, like the others who are left of her generation. She has found it painful to think about her past, far less to tell her story, until now. But at last she has been able to remember. These stories must be told before it is too late. I've been honoured that she entrusted me with hers.
Im now working on a new novel and in this and other ways I try to "keep feeding the lake."
Thank you for visiting! Please check back to see new blog posts on my current blog SCRIPS.